MOAA asked for your favorite veteran-owned breweries. Here’s what you recommended:
Location:St. Albans, Vt.
About: Army Maj. Steve Gagner scribbled the business plan for 14th Star Brewing Co. on the back of a battle notebook during a deployment to Afghanistan. Its mission: to brew high-quality craft beer while enriching the local community.
What’s on tap: Valor Ale, Recruit Golden Ale, and The Collaborator
Recommendation: “As a Vermonter, my favorite vet-owned brewery is 14th Star,” says Maj. James
Laferriere, USAF (Ret). “Their name comes from the fact that Vermont was the 14th state,” or 14th star on the U.S. flag.
Location: Corona, Calif.
About: Bill Steinkirchner, a retired Army colonel, opened Stone Church Brewing in 2013. He has traveled the world, visiting more than 600 microbreweries in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, South Korea, and even Mongolia.
What’s on tap: Eucharist Wheat, Redemption Red Ale, Covenant IPA, and Omen Oatmeal Stout, among others
Recommendation: “Bill has sponsored several veterans’ fundraising functions using the brewery. Veterans are always made [to feel] welcome,” says Lt. Col. Jim Hammond, USAFR (Ret).
Location: Urbana, Ill.
About: Owners Matt and Darin Riggs experimented with their first home brews while serving in the military. Matt later earned his German brewmaster certification in Munich. Darin got his degree in master brewing from the University of California Davis.
What’s on tap: American Lager, Hefeweizen, Red Lager, and an India Pale Lager
Recommendation: “Darin and Matt maintain strong ties to their alma mater and to their Naval ROTC unit, serving their beers to visiting Navy/Marine Corps alumni at the [Naval] ROTC tailgate tent [during football season],” says Cmdr. Joe Rank, USN (Ret). “They convinced me to buy my own kegerator, where I keep kegs of Riggs American Lager and one of their 12 monthly seasonal brews on tap for my family and friends.”
Location: Longmont, Colo.
About: Eric Wallace, a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate and former communications officer, cofounded Left Hand Brewing Co. with Dick Doore in 1994. Their perennial and seasonal beers are available in 35 states and Washington, D.C.
What’s on tap: Sawtooth Ale and Extrovert American IPA, among others
Recommendation: “I’m a fellow home brewer who also started home brewing in the early 1990s,” says Maj. Brian Mertz, USAF (Ret). “I’ve enjoyed many of Left Hand’s unique brews and have personally judged with Eric at several regional home brew competitions.” Poseidon Brewing Co.
Location: Ventura, Calif.
About: Retired Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Brian “Olly” Oliver, a steelworker with the Seabees who spent much of his career as an underwater diving technician, started Poseidon Brewing Co. three years ago. Poseidon serves up several brews with diving- or nautical-related names and supports military and veteran organizations.
What’s on tap: Borchard Beer, Into the Fray IPA, and Hueneme Wit, among others
Recommendation: “Its products have never failed to be anything but outstanding, and their Oktoberfest is worth the trip to Los Angeles,” says Maj. Joseph Sturtevant, USMC (Ret).